The Rebel Statue Debate Masks a Conversation on American Nationalism

So for a while now, the Rebel Statue Debate has centered on the merits and demerits of the Rebel leaders and generals, and whether there’s anything that would distinguish them from people like Washington, Jefferson, Columbus, or Genghis Khan. Conservatives link the Rebels to the American pantheon, while Liberals draw lines between the two. Radicals want to burn everything down, Rebel or not.

As you no doubt expect, I’m sympathetic to the conservative argument. It’s obviously anachronistic to vilify 1860s slaveholders by 2010s standards. But it’s also anachronistic to use, as Gordon-Reed does, “building America” as a yardstick by which to judge people. Aside from being a nebulous, politicized term, why is that relevant in a time when people were loyal to local communities and states as opposed to a centralized, unitary government?

But this post is not about whether or not the Rebels were evil, and ultimately, that’s not what the Rebel Statue Debate is about. Aside from Buchanan’s article above, I think a recent article from Dreher, also found in The American Conservative, arrives close to the mark. Dreher, quoting Booth, presents:

those of you who think that a Confederate flag honors Southern heritage, or who think that Confederate monuments honor valiant men and are an important part of our history — you don’t get to decide what those symbols mean to our culture.

Note that culture is singular. This is key.

Booth sees one unified American culture, as a battleground that we fight over, one where the winner takes all. If the Left wins (as it has), then the Rebel Statues are bastions of hate, and Dixie should accept its idols being defaced and torn down. If the Right wins, then the Rebel Statues are reflections of glories past, and Blacks and Lefties have no grounds to call them hateful.

It’s an Voice vs. Exit problem, and Booth sees Voice as the only valid path forward. Under that assumption, his argument is absolutely correct.

But when Dreher is the loudest voice (so to speak) on the Right in support of Exit, I find it very curious that he presents, without critique, Booth’s argument based on Voice. Because Dreher doesn’t accept the premises of Voice for a minute. Dreher openly acknowledges that Christians lost the Culture War, but should retreat into cultural, ideological fortresses, which he calls the Benedict Option.

And I slowly realized that that’s what this debate comes down to. Along with the Religious Right, Dixie lost the Culture War. At this point, Dixie has zero chance of winning a grand Kulturkampf against Upper East Side culture brokers, and it does not even appear to be attempting that battle. So the question is, should Dixie have a Benedict Option?

(Don’t be fooled by polls that show a majority that favors the Rebel Statues staying up. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing, and right now, radicals are defacing and tearing down all kinds of statues-Rebel or otherwise-with utter impunity)

In the piece linked above, Buchanan writes:

We have condemned and renounced the scarlet sins of the men who made America and embraced diversity, inclusivity and equality….Our new America is to be a land where all races, tribes, creeds and cultures congregate, all are treated equally, and all move ever closer to an equality of results through the regular redistribution of opportunity, wealth and power…We are going to become “the first universal nation.”

In this video, Murray makes the point more forcefully (39:40):

So our politicians say, ‘What are British values’? Well, they’re about tolerance…and being nice…and being decent…and being diverse, of course. That’s necessarily wide, because you’re trying to encompass everyone you now have in your country, but it’s shallow….It answers none of the questions that we as people, as human beings, and as souls ask…The culture says nothing to you.

Five decades after the 1965 immigration act, we’ve got a panoply of incredibly disparate people from around the world. The only way to bring them together in a shared culture is to give that culture breadth, but not depth. Aside from Ed Sheeran songs and Cappucinos, the only way to generate that breadth is by using generic liberal politics as a substitute for a genuine, deep-seated culture.

Obviously, liberals find Dixie’s history and heritage particularly problematic, to use their parlance. And they find Exit in general problematic: they are even ambivalent on Leftist Exit. These two fact all but guarantee that the Left will assault Dixie’s heritage, seeking to defeat it and see the South subsumed into to the “first universal nation.”

The Rebel Statue Debate thus becomes a microcosm of a larger debate on nationalism vs. particularism, on Voice vs. Exit.

So why do I favor the Rebel Statues staying up? Because

  1. Liberal nationalism has a shaky foundation at best.
  2. Right now, we have no machinery for Exit built.

On Point 1: building a shared national story isn’t something you can do with a few years of progressive social media campaigns. It takes time and effort lasting decades. It requires shutting down cults of ethnicity rather than subsidizing them with tax dollars.

And it gets a lot harder, perhaps impossible, when you have large groups with innately different aggregate traits that you have to put together.

Not dissuaded yet? Now remember that not only are our groups saliently different from one another, but in the South, they’ve set themselves against each other for centuries.

I try to be optimistic, but I just see no way for the nationalist project to succeed in America, let alone the South.

On Point 2: to be honest, I’m not inherently bothered about Black communities tearing down statues and renaming streets of men they dislike. Indeed, a similar thing happened in Poland after the Great War.

The reason I oppose the Rebel Statue destruction now is that currently, Dixie has no options for Exit. It can’t build its own communities and be left in peace. Until that happens, it would be an unjust, indeed imperial, act to destroy Dixie’s statues.

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How to Talk about Human Biodiversity

This is probably the most controversial topic around, but I’ve successfully managed to redpill multiple friends on the idea of human biodiversity (HBD). In coming years, new genetic evidence will likely vindicate most tenets of HBD, so I think it is time to start preparing ourselves to have that conversation.

I freely acknowledge that I have an inherent advantage in talking about this: I am a brown man, and society doesn’t police my crimethink as aggressively as it polices that of Whites. Nevertheless, I think the ideas here have some applicability to everyone who wants to talk about HBD.

1. Picking Your Targets

“It’s about sizing up your mark, lad. The way they walk, what they’re wearing. It’s a dead give-away”

-Brynjolf, TES V, Skyrim

I recommend you focus on Right-leaning people, particularly those who have a degree of interest in dissident right views like nationalism or paleolibertarianism (I lean towards the latter). That’s the easiest target.

Surprisingly, I think the next best targets for HBD conversations are heterodox Left-leaning people. These people lived in close ideological proximity to, but ultimately rejected, the SJW memeplex. That makes them more open to new information, and I think if phrased correctly, a fraction would be open to ideas about human biodiversity.

The worst possible targets are orthodox leftists. The SJW memeplex about how White privilege dooms the world is a self-reinforcing narrative that closes them off to new information. More bad targets include establishment conservatives. While they reject the SJW memeplex, they are studiously opposed to any thought of race…which makes our job very difficult.

2. Choosing a Line of Attack

It’s best if you stay away from hot-button topics like the innate Black-White IQ gap. As soon as people hear this, the majority will do what they’ve been propagandized to do, and will shut down.

I recommend you pick a kind of esoteric topic to start. For example, you can bring up Steve Sailer’s discussion on how cousin marriage impacts Iraq, makes it a society organized completely differently than ours, and makes Western democracy a non-starter there. Most (sane) people agree that the Iraq invasion was a bad idea, and they may be interested in explanations for why it failed.

Of course, the topics you can bring up will differ from society to society. In America, I could talk about how founder effects and subsequent selection created Indian castes and subcastes as we know them, and likely affected mental phenotypes as well. In India, I would be murdered for bringing up the topic.

3. Providing Solutions

“You kids joke about Viagra, but it was a big deal. It made it ok to talk about erectile dysfunction, it brought it out of the shadows. And that helped a lot of people.”

-Professor of Urology at my medical school

Humans don’t like being blackpilled (so to speak). If you want people to accept your points, you need to provide solutions alongside them.

They don’t have to be perfect solutions. For example, antipsychotics aren’t great at treating schizophrenics. But they work to a degree, and once typical antipsychotics were invented in the late 1950s, that made the deinstitutionalization movement of the next few decades possible.

One solution I would have for America is a shift to educational tracking and vocational schools, similar to what Germany does (though thanks to Diversity Inc, Germany may be moving away from this). We should emphasize that regardless of the IQs of groups or individuals, people can be productive contributors to society, even if things won’t end up perfectly equal in the end.

It’s not perfect, but as explained above, the solution doesn’t have to be perfect.